Bidens cernua (Nodding Bur-Marigold)

Plant Info
Also known as: Nodding Beggarticks
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:annual
Habitat:part shade, sun; swamps, fens, shores
Bloom season:August - October
Plant height:6 to 36 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 7+petals

[photo of flowers]  Flowers are 1 to 2 inches across, 8 oval yellow ray flowers (petals) with a point or notch at the tip, and a dull orange center. The petals may not all be the same length and occasionally are absent altogether. Each flower is at the end of a stalk that arises from a leaf axil. One plant has a few to many flowers.

[photo of bracts] The outer bracts are long and narrow, green and curly, and unequal lengths. The inner bracts are pale yellow to green, almond-shaped, about as wide as the petals, tapering to a blunt point.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves]  Leaves are narrow, up to 6 inches long and 1 inch wide, tapering to a pointed tip, hairless, with toothed edges and no leaf stalk, clasping the stem. Attachment is opposite, the bases of the leaf pairs nearly joined around the stem. Stems are hairless or sparsely hairy and may be green or reddish purple.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

[photo of seed head] The flower head nods down as it ages (and is where it gets its common name) so the seed head points down.

[photo of seed] Seeds are hard and dark brown, 4-angled with downward pointing hairs along the angles and 4 barbed awns that attach the seed to anything that brushes against it (like my clothes).


Nodding Bur Marigold is commonly found on the banks of ponds and lakes in late summer and early fall. It may form large colonies, but is often scattered.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake and Rice Creek Regional Parks, Ramsey County, and Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, Anoka County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Mark - Oakdale Nature Preserve, Oakdale MN
on: 2010-09-04 21:21:27

I saw a couple plants for the first time (for me) ever on 9/3/10 in a ditch along the main path into the park, standing in water in the exact same spot as the marsh cinquefoil and broad-leaf arrowhead were earlier this year. On 9/4/10, I noticed that the little pothole just inside the 45th-and-Granada entrance is FULL of these! For the last several years this pothole has been dry by July but with all the rain this year it's now full of water. And Bidens cernua!

Posted by: Alyson - Little Elbow Lake by East Silent Lake, Ottertail county, Dor
on: 2011-09-05 14:51:40

Found this plant by our lake. Such a pretty flower and interesting leaf. Don't know why I've never noticed it before. I just discovered this website. I find I am using it a lot. Thank you :0)

Posted by: Bruce - Reitz Lake, Carver County
on: 2012-10-05 13:11:17

A number of these popped up along our lake shore this late summer and early fall. They are all nodding and drying up by 1st of October.

Posted by: Sue - Lake Park
on: 2012-11-17 16:12:31

I love this website. Great information on wildflowers. Yesterday, I spent hours picking the burs from nodding marigold out on my jeans and sweatshirt after walking along the shore of our slough. The flowers were lovely earlier this fall, and I am delighted to now know the name of this plant.

Posted by: Keith - Wahkon, MN in Mille Lacs County
on: 2014-08-29 17:42:23

I found these flowers in at least two locations near Wahkon. I'll have to collect samples to update the distribution map.

Posted by: Christine - Parkers Prairie
on: 2014-09-15 08:29:20

I love this website! Bought something from Amazon but I have a hard time finding anything on it and the pictures are not nearly as good. Found this in a wet roadside ditch.

Posted by: Teresa - Fergus Falls MN
on: 2015-08-28 14:03:00

Growing in our small bird spa in the front of The Prairie Wetlands Learning Center 8/27/15

Posted by: Joseph C - Knife Lake, Kanabec Co
on: 2017-09-01 11:39:12

Along the shore with an Eastern exposure

Posted by: Phyllis S - Otter Tail County
on: 2017-09-08 20:50:41

Maplewood State Park on the spit of land that separates North and South Lida Lake.

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